Directors' pay at FTSE 100 firms soared last year, growing up to seven times faster than the average worker's wages.
Researchers at Incomes Data Services said that while millions of ordinary people are suffering on ever-shrinking salaries, the bosses of Britain's top companies were raking in the cash.
Non-executive chairmen saw their pay rise by 6 per cent on average last year, taking home nearly £400,000 each.
Their fees ranged from an average of £270,000 in technology firms to over half a million pounds at oil and gas companies.
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said it showed that "we need urgent reform of boardroom pay.
"Top directors are showing little restraint while millions of workers are suffering real-term losses to their incomes and are really feeling the squeeze on their living standards."
And ordinary directors still managed to get their hands on £64,000 - a 4 per cent increase on 2011 and double what they charged in 2000.
Meanwhile the chairmen of company remuneration committees - the people who set the pay for executives - snagged an eye-watering 14 per cent increase.
Ms O'Grady said that "these bumper settlements bear little relation to performance" and it showed the need for workers to sit on pay committees.
The figures were published as reports surfaced that HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver will receive a £2 million bonus as part of a total package reportedly worth up to £7m for 2012.
But while company chiefs filled their boots research by the Labour Party showed that British workers had taken a huge hit to their pay packets.
Real wages - pay minus inflation - fell by 3.2 per cent between the third quarter of 2010 and the third quarter of 2012, the same as in Portugal.
Among the 27 EU member states, only the Netherlands, Cyprus and Greece suffered greater drops.
Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said: "These figures show just how far Britain is falling behind the rest of Europe under this government.
"A flatlining economy under David Cameron and George Osborne over the last two years has made British people worse off, but families, pensioners and businesses cannot afford another two years of falling living standards.
"Urgent action is needed in the Budget to kickstart our stagnant economy and help people on middle and low incomes struggling with the rising cost of living."
If you appreciated this article then please consider donating to the Morning Star's Fighting Fund to ensure we can keep developing your paper.
A government guided by common sense would respond to news that publicly owned Royal Mail has increased profits to £403 million by scrapping plans to flog off the service.
Wales TUC president sets out the achievements of Welsh workers over the past year - and looks to the battles ahead
Interview with Jeremy Scahill, author of a chilling new exposé of the US's worldwide war without end